Weekly Lifelines 2/3/2022

At our January meeting, the vestry and I reviewed our goals from last year. When doing reviews like this, even on goals that are purely personal, that no one else even knows about, I always get a little nervous. It’s important to me to follow through on what I set out to do. So, especially after a year when everything has felt kind of catawampus, looking back on what we said we were going to do produced a little anxiety. And I don’t believe I’m alone in this.  

On more than one occasion, when we started discussing some particular goal, the person responsible for it would sheepishly begin with something like, “It looks like this was mine; I’m sorry, I didn’t make much progress on it.” Nobody likes moments like that. They’re uncomfortable and maybe a little embarrassing. But you know what? It was fine. Every single one. Totally okay. Not because we’d forgiven them for the oversight (although we certainly had), but because that goal had given way to something more relevant.  

We set those goals last spring, when it looked like the pandemic would soon be coming to an end. We figured the world would zig but then it zagged instead. Those unfulfilled goals don’t represent failure; they’re evidence of our agility. They ceased to line up with where we are and where we’re going, so we moved on to more important work. People hadn’t made much progress because their attention was focused on more relevant work. That’s not something to be embarrassed about; it’s something to be proud of.  

It was an absolute delight spend time with the vestry, reflecting on the past year. I’m deeply grateful for their perspective, for the celebration of everything St. Luke’s has accomplished, and for the permission to let go of what no longer serves us.  

Given our culture’s work ethic—and the craziness of the year just past—I suspect that many of you also have some unfulfilled project lurking in the background. Something which was conceived under a set of conditions that no longer exists and yet still loiters there, consuming energy and producing guilt. If you have one of those, please take this as permission to let it go. The past year or two have brought so much that is new and challenging, it’s okay that we didn’t see then where exactly we’d be now. God is still with us and for us and in us, guiding us to where we need to be, even if we’re not exactly sure where that is.  

Together, we’ve done incredible work under conditions we never could have imagined. Thanks be to God, both for what we’ve done and for what we have left undone.  

Blessings, Justin

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